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The Argot is originally the name for a historical sociolect of French , namely the secret language of beggars and crooks in France in the Middle Ages , analogous to Rotwelschen in German-speaking countries . Variants such as the butcher's argot Loucherbem , the Javanais and Verlan , the youth language dating from the second half of the 20th century, are still in use today . Sometimes the term is also used for a simple to crude variety of the French colloquial language ( argot commun ). In a figurative sense, the term is also used for any form of group language that sometimes deliberately deviates from the standard language in order to enable a kind of secret language. In part, this means that terms are more frequently re-coined when words find their way into everyday language.

In the alchemical and hermetic contexts of French scholars (e.g. Nostradamus , Dante , Fulcanelli ) a secret language, the "language of the birds", is called argot. Fulcanelli describes it as a combination of the words Art and Gotique . Another term for it is "green language", which is likely due to a translation error (from French vert "green"), because the French term langue verte is derived from langue ouverte (French ouvert "open") and thus means "Open language". Victor Hugo often uses argot in the novel Les Misérables (1862); In the German editions, these passages are mostly left out as untranslatable.

Mechanisms of word creation in the Argot

The argot makes use of various means to produce expressions that differ from the standard language. These are:

  • the use of an adjective instead of an adverb (here combined with the idiosyncratic use of a standard language verb):
il assure grave for “il est vraiment très bon”;
  • changing words through certain endings (-ard, -asse, -ave, -oque, -ax, -ouille, etc.):
connard and connasse for “con”, pourrave for “pourri”, matos for “matériel”;
  • the truncation of one or more syllables of a word: pèt for “pétard”, tox for “toxicomane” or zik for “musique”;
  • the repetition of syllables, sometimes combined with the omission of another syllable: zonzon for "prison".
  • the pars pro toto , a single word serves as a (disparaging) generic term, e.g. B. Fritz , in the plural Les Fritze as a negative word for a German or German , especially, but not only, as an occupying soldier in France in both World Wars and afterwards.

There are also various encryption systems:

  • First the syllables of “flic” become keufli in a twisted form , which is then shortened to keuf .
  • In the subspecies called “Javanais”, the sound sequence “av” (or a comparable one) is inserted between consonants and vowels. Standard language “Marcel” becomes Mavarçavel , “bonjour” becomes bavonjavour or “Jésus Christ” becomes Javésavus Chravist .
  • In the Loucherbem , the initial consonant is replaced by an "l", and the end of the word is given an additional ending:
"Boucher"> loucherbem ; "À poil"> loilpé . The expression loufoque for “fou” has become part of everyday vocabulary.
  • Use of abbreviations: LBV for "Libreville" or TDC for "tombé du camion" ("stolen").
  • Borrowings from other languages: mabul from Arabic mahbûl "crazy".

Examples of other slang terms

There are a number of synonyms for the most common terms, for example:

  • "Money" ( argent ):
artiche, as, aspine, aubert, avoine, balles, beurre, biftons, blanquette, blé, boules, braise, bulle, caire, carbure, carme, chels, chou, caillasse, claude, craisbi, douille, fafs, fafiots, fifrelins, flèche (in the expression un or pas un ), flouze, fourrage, fraîche, fric, galette, galtouse, ganot, genhar ( Verlan version of argent ), gibe, graisse, grisbi, japonais, lard, love, maille, monaille, mornifle , némo, os, oseille, osier, pion, sac, barre, brique, patate, pâte, pélauds, pépètes, pèse, picaillons, pimpions, plaque, plâtre, pognon, radis, rafia, ronds, pascal, louis d'or, ecusson, sauce, soudure, sous, talbins, trêfle, thune .
  • "Food" ( manger ):
becqueter, bouffer, boulotter, briffer, cartoucher, casser la croûte, casser la dalle, casser la graine, claper, croûter, damer, galimafrer, gamelle , grailler, jaffer, mastéguer, morfiler, tortorer, morganer, rayaver .
  • "Police" ( policier ):
archer, bignolon, bleu, bourdille, cogne, condé, coyotte, flic, keuf, matuche, pandore, perdreau (also inverted to drauper ), poulet (> poulagas, poulardin, pouleman), royco, dek (> dekiz, kizdé), chtar, roussin, schmidt, bœuf, ripou (> pourri ).
  • "Police station" ( poste de police ):
grande volière, maison parapluie, maison de poulagas, maison poulemane, KFC (from Kentucky Fried Chicken , associated with the others alluding to chickens, poulets ), MIB (for Men In Blue ).
  • "Drunk" ( soûlé ):
beurré (often supplemented by: comme un p'tit Lu ), bitu ( bituré ), bourré, plein, rond (often supplemented by: comme une queue de pelle ), déchiré, défoncé, arraché, chaud, pacté, pompette, fracasse or fracassé, schlass, à la rue, gris or noir, schtrac, froid, pété, torché, fait, fini, attaqué, chargé la mule, parti en sky .
  • "Have been cheated" ( se faire avoir ):
se faire patchaquer ( la patchaque ), se faire niquer, se faire baiser, se faire bénène, se faire bebar, se faire carotte, se faire mettre (often supplemented by: profond ), se faire beh, se faire passer un sapin, se faire douiller, se faire reluire la turbine à chocolat, se faire fouetter le choux fleur, se faire empapaouter, se faire couillonner, se faire entuber, se faire sodomiser verbalement, se faire fourrer, se faire pénétrer, se faire doiger, se faire pogner , se faire buster, se faire sucer, se faire prendre (often supplemented by: jusqu'à l'os ), se faire crosser.
  • "Fall" ( tomber ):
chuter, se gaufrer, se croûter, se vautrer, se ramasser, se viander, se scratcher, se bananer, se tauler, se prendre une boîte, se mettre au tas, se casser la gueule, s'étaler, se péter la tronche, se gameller, se prendre une gamelle, se prendre une pelle, manger le bitume, se bêcher .

The modern sociolect texto

"Le texto", the French SMS language also known more formally as "language SMS", has increasingly spread as a sociolect and alternative written language in France since the mid-1990s. This special language originally pursued the goal of reducing the length of the words in order to fall below the permitted number of characters for SMS messages, or to speed up text entry. This spelling has found its way into France in particular in information and communication technologies (e-mail, Facebook, advertising). In the case of abbreviations, the vowels - sometimes also some consonants - are usually left out:

  • lgtps for "longtemps",
  • tt for "tout" or "toute",
  • pr instead of "pour",
  • billion for "merde",
  • bjr for "bonjour",
  • bsr for "bonsoir".

For phonetic input, it is sufficient to pronounce the alternative spelling to get back to the original word:

  • koi for "quoi",
  • jamè for "jamais",
  • grav for "grâve",
  • sava? for "ça va?",
  • eske for "est-ce que".

A method for typographical transcriptions, often with the help of Arabic numerals, originally comes from English (there R for "are", U for "you", 2 for "to" or "too"):

  • A2m1 for "à demain",
  • A + for "à plus [tard]",
  • bi1 for "bien",
  • koi 2.9 for "quoi de neuf",
  • gt for "j'étais",
  • mr6 for "merci",
  • NRJ for "énergie",
  • a12c4 for "à un de ces quatre", German " see you soon".


  • Luc Etienne, Alphonse Boudard: La Méthode à Mimile. L'argot sans peine. Jeune Parque, Paris 1970.
  • Robert Giraud: L'Argot tel qu'on le parle. Grancher, Paris 1981.
  • Jean-Paul Colin: Dictionnaire de l'argot français et de ses origines. Larousse, Paris 1990, revised new edition 1999.
  • Volker Noll: The foreign language elements in the French argot. Lang, Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991.
  • David Ovason: The Nostradamus Code. The key to the prophecies of the great seer. Heyne, Munich 1999.
  • François Caradec: Dictionnaire du français argotique et populaire. Larousse, Paris 2001.
  • Jacques Anis: Parlez-vous texto? Guide des nouveaux langages du réseau. Le Cherche Midi, Paris 2001, ISBN 2-86274-888-9 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Cf. Simone Manon: L'argot. Victor Hugo , in: PhiloLog. Course of Philosophy. Retrieved May 27, 2016.

Web links

Wiktionary: Argot  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations